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Blue Ocean Film Festival Makes Waves In Monaco, As Cop21 Approaches

Large Compass Print Cotton Jersey T-Shirt in BlackIt doesn’t drive voter turnout, as a lot as scorching button, easily gamed issues like unlawful immigration and taxes do.

Nevertheless, inside environmentalist circles, marine safety is that stepchild. Although 48% of human-produced carbon dioxide ends up within the ocean, inflicting Ph levels to drop and deadly acidification to rise, most environmental activism centers on terrestrial degradation. You may present marine safety as Chilean Sea Bass, however most politicians and activists nonetheless view it as Patagonian toothfish.

The just-concluded Blue Ocean Festival and Conservation Summit goals to correct that imbalance. Blue affords a rare probability to see a variety of long and brief films solely targeted on marine protection.

Moreover, at Blue, one will get to chat with the participating marine photographers, scientists, entrepreneurs, enterprise capitalists and philanthropists (sometimes all in one person) working to position ocean preservation at the forefront of environmental protection, particularly as the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) approaches subsequent month in Paris.

There may be logic in Blue’s approach. As a result of the deep oceans are largely out of sight and out of mind for most of our species, an ideal manner to boost consciousness of their exotic magnificence and imperiled state is through film. The challenge going through a festival of this kind is in making a program various and compelling enough that it does not end up as one lengthy episode of The Blue Planet, minus the BBC’s production values.

Launched in Monterey, California in 2009 by the St. Petersburg, Florida — by means of West Virginia — couple of Debbie and Charles Kinder, Blue is on its solution to getting the combo proper. This past week’s festival in Monaco (the 2017 festival will also play within the principality) highlighted stellar examples of the marine documentary type.

For instance, Florian Fischer’s and Michael Kugler’s 7-minute narrative short Shark and Lion artfully showcases the menace posed by the invasive lionfish.

Documentary features like Angel Azul (which chronicles the work of eco-sculptor Jason DeCaires Taylor)

and doc shorts like Silke de Vos’ Coral Gardening (which follows Anuar Abdullah, founder of Ocean Quest Malaysia)

profile the frontline victims of worldwide warming, runoff, and extreme human interaction: the fragile indicator creature known as coral.

Coral reefs are home to 25% of the world’s marine fish species, and comprise nearly the complete nation of Kiribati, whose President, Anote Tong, spoke movingly at Blue

about plans to uproot his individuals to Fiji, except $2 billion is raised to turn Kiribati (endangered by rising seas and coral destruction) into a Waterworld-like floating island.

In keeping with the World Wildlife Fund, 27% of the world’s coral reefs have already been lost. If current trends persist, 60% of the world’s coral reefs can be lost within the following 30 years.

A number of movies at Blue might strike some as preachy and pedantic. Others may use extra enhancing. Stone Island Jeans As a producer and director of three stone island puffa jackets documentaries (Crotty’s Kids, Grasp Debaters, Apryl Miller: Colour and Soul), I’ve discovered that the money quote of Shakespeare’s Polonius – “brevity is the soul of wit” – is all too pertinent to the usually prolix and humorless documentary kind.

Nevertheless, as cartoonist Jim Toomey — creator of the ocean-themed cartoon Sherman’s Lagoon
and director of the Blue-nominated brief Two Miles Deep — advised me over steak frites across from the Monaco carnival (where, true to my invasive species, I later charged into the funhouse, in full Brooks Brothers go well with, with a multinational gaggle of political science students from nearby Undergraduate College of Menton), “You’ll doubtless see higher manufacturing values in anything shown on Animal Planet. That’s because the focus is entertainment. The movies at Blue” — chosen as they’re by an eight-individual jury of environmentalists, scientists, and filmmakers — “go deeper.”

True ‘dat, as the brief doc, The edge, about a photographer who movies sharks at evening, poetically makes clear.

But there’s one thing deeply private that goes on as effectively. Watching wave after wave of trustworthy, simple depictions of intensely variegated ocean life starts to have an effect on how one views all species. I literally underwent a sea change of the center, as I saw how even probably the most repulsive or violent or odd-looking organism had its place within the higher ocean scheme. One can’t help however broaden one’s acceptance of radical range in humans after viewing such epic and interconnected variety in nature.

This openhearted spirit was perfectly modeled by the Kinders and their nimble worldwide crew (which includes a former undercover high quality assurance advisor for Starwood Accommodations & Resorts). Furthermore, they instinctively demonstrated the hallmarks of an important festival outlined in my two earlier columns on the Santa Barbara and Palm Springs film festivals respectively.

First, Blue is now no less than partially positioned in a locale, Monaco, which is fulsomely committed to accountable tourism and traditionally aligned with the festival’s ocean mandate. Under the clever, stalwart leadership of His Serene Excellency Prince Albert II (himself an avid explorer, who’s been to the north and south poles, and who courageously lead the cost to limit the fishing and sale of the endangered Mediterranean bluefin tuna),

Monaco has been on the forefront of ocean safety for effectively over 100 years. Prince Albert II took the ocean safety helm from his great-nice-grandfather and explorer, Prince Albert I, who founded Monaco’s breathtaking Baroque Revival Oceanographic Museum (where Blue is held).

Secondly, Blue is mindful of the necessity for extraordinary customer service, going to further pains to make sure that friends are graciously served at a number of factors of contact. This is necessary because the prospect of visiting upscale, out-of-the-manner Monaco can seem daunting to many potential attendees.

I witnessed few missteps either on the festival or in getting there. My moderately priced Swiss Air flight from Los Angeles to Zurich and on to nearby Nice (and through Heli Air to Monaco), was straightforward and quick. In addition, the on-board amenities – a Swiss-themed consolation kit, exemplary headphones, effective delicacies (from a unique Swiss canton each three months), and a large seat (with constructed-in massager) that reclined right into a full mattress — have been the perfect I’ve had in any airplane class.

The one weakness — a Swiss Air steward assured me this is being remedied — was the lack of Web and dwell satellite tv for pc Tv. Nonetheless, I loved the reprieve from being absolutely connected.

Moreover, within the extremely secure, ultra clear (you allegedly want a bachelor’s diploma to even work as a Monaco street cleaner) confines of the world’s second-smallest nation, one feels removed from wider world considerations. I name it the Monaco bubble.

That doesn’t mean one is denied the esoteric indulgences of residence. For instance, The Lodge Metropole (Monaco’s only independently-owned “palace” property) provides a vegetarian, gluten-free eight-course “food and life” tasting menu, courtesy of culinary auteur Joel Robuchon. While I selected not to affix my fellow Russian and English plutocrats on the Metropole, my completely suitable Novotel room got here with a full ocean view and sizzling day by day breakfast, at a worth comparable to a mid-vary Manhattan hotel.

Monaco’s walkable size makes getting from any resort to Blue a veritable sea breeze. Although the constitutional monarchy has instituted several types of inexperienced transport, I encourage attendees to walk to and from the festival with a view to take in the insanely lovely grandeur that leads up to and across the towering Oceanographic Museum. The highlights embody two gardens, a hidden stone island puffa jackets beach accessible by a series of elegant stone steps (placing Malibu’s Matador Beach steps to shame), and spectacular ocean views like few others on the Riviera. Oh, and for those not bothered by such things, an aquarium that is taken into account probably the greatest on the earth.

I usually suggest that boutique festivals keep all venues within walking distance. By centralizing programming within the Oceanographic Museum (whose former director was – from 1959-1988 – none aside from Jacque-Yves Cousteau), and by conserving the festival small and intimate, Blue makes it simple to fulfill the Who’s Who of Marine Protection.

Pioneers like Cristina Mittermeier (Sea Legacy), Dieter Paulmann (Okeanos),
the inimitable Carl Gustaf Lundin (IUCN), Sylvia Earle (Mission Blue), Anisa Kamadoli Costa (Tiffany & Co Foundation), Torsten Thiele (Global Ocean Belief) and Louie Psihoyos (indomitable, if righteously vegan, director of the preeminent environmental movie of our time Racing Extinction, which debuts on Discovery just as COP21 begins)

are making blue the brand new inexperienced in additional methods than one.
These connections can be later deepened over fine amaretto (go ask Alice)

on the Lodge Hermitage’s lovely Crystal Bar or at sundry other posh redoubts in one of the world’s most visually spectacular festival backdrops.

Luxury and social good may be paired like the best Monegasque food and wine, if a festival has the best angle. Taking a cue from Monaco’s humble, selfless, and much-beloved Prince, and with sponsorship from the likes of Rolex and Tiffany (which no longer uses coral in its jewellery), Blue is on its option to getting that pairing right.

In the following few years, as Blue strives to attract extra of the town-state’s 328,000 annual tourists, as well as its prosperous locals (for whom the Grand Prix and Yacht Present remain the large attracts), and finds methods to host screenings and events in and around Monaco’s evocative ocean milieu, whereas ensuring that festival restaurants serve sustainably raised seafood, it may simply grow to be the leading nature-primarily based movie festival on planet earth.

– James Marshall Crotty
When you would like to re-publish this story, or deploy Mr. Crotty as a speaker, author or moderator, please contact him at www.jamescrotty.com.